(CNSNews.com) – Suspected Islamist terrorists killed 12 Nigerians celebrating Jesus’ birth, hours before Pope Benedict XVI, in his traditional Christmas Day message, spoke out against “savage acts of terrorism” mainly targeting Christians in Africa’s most populous country.
Gunmen shot dead six Christians and set fire to an evangelical church in the northern state of Yobe, police said. Wire reports said the pastor was among the dead in the midnight attack.
Separately, a Baptist church in neighboring Borno state was attacked. Nigeria’s The Nation said six church members were killed.
The attacks cap the bloodiest year yet in Boko Haram’s violent campaign against Christians, with more than 700 fatalities, according to the Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans. An Associated Press count puts the number at more than 770.
It was the third consecutive Christmas marred by terrorist attacks in Nigeria. On Christmas Day last year 44 Christians were killed in a series of attacks, most of them at a Catholic church near the capital, Abuja; On Christmas Eve 2010 the target was Christian areas of the central city of Jos, where at least 32 people were killed in three bombings.
Read More at CNS News . By Patrick Goodenough.